Hitler and India – The Swastika

Given the gravity of the crimes he committed against humanity in general and against the Jews in particular, Hitler is considered one of the worst evils a human can be. The dictator was responsible for the death of millions of innocent people, just because they did not fit his distorted and evil vision of so called ‘pure race’.

Among Indians, Hitler is often discussed for his affinity or likings of Hinduism. Though there is no direct proof of this from his writings or speeches, the origin of German symbol of Swastika and his belief in supreme Aryan race are some times opined as his bias towards Hindu religion.

In Hinduism, the word swastika is derived from the Sanskrit word svastika meaning any lucky or auspicious object. The swastika is a mark (or a symbol) often made on persons and things to show good luck.

The Indian swastika is considered a sacred symbol among the followers of many Indians religions including Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. It has long been a part of the Indian traditions, rituals and is often depicted in the religious or worship settings.

So, did Hitler take the traditional Hindu good-luck symbol of the swastika, rotated it by 45 degree and then used it as the German icon of his Nazi campaign? It was commonly used on the Nazi party’s flag, the badges, the armband and so on.

Many scholars have concluded that the Swastika was a specifically Indo-European symbol, and have associated it with the ancient migrations of Proto-Indo-Europeans – the Aryan people. Hitler and his party, a promoter of so called ‘supreme Aryan race’, may have taken this fact into account while deciding on the national icon or symbol.

In his autobiography ‘Mein Kampf’ (roughly translated ‘My Struggles’), Hitler wrote:

“I myself, meanwhile, after innumerable attempts, had laid down a final form; a flag with a red background, a white disk, and a black swastika in the middle. After long trials I also found a definite proportion between the size of the flag and the size of the white disk, as well as the shape and thickness of the swastika.”

However, the same modified symbol that he used was commonly found in the western world long before it was adopted by Hitler and his party. There are numerous example of the same symbol being used in many different countries before Hitler’s (or his party’s) rise to power.

There are many examples of the European version of the Swastika in 19th and 20th centuries, long before the Nazi rise in German. You can take a look at numerous references summarized in the ‘source’ listed below.

So most likely, the Swastika used by Hitler as the national icon was derived from already existing and modified European/American version, rather than the Indian symbol in Hinduism. Furthermore, it is quite possible that he most likely used this symbol for its historical link to Aryans.

As most of you know, the German swastika is now widely considered a taboo in the western society, a reminder of Nazi evil.

Also, it is worth noting that Hitler’s definition of Aryan race is somewhat twisted and distorted as summarized in a post linked below.

Source:For European and American use of Swastika symbol, you can look at the various references used here.

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3 Replies to “Hitler and India – The Swastika”

  1. Hitler was not a Hindu sympathizer. and he took swastika as a symbol to Represent the Ideology of Aryan race(Indo-European people ).and you Talking about Jews you at least read their holly books which proclaim terminate all uncircumcised people form world.
    and you understand Hitler didn’t kill any Indian but the British and french killed hundred of them.and there not hating British. then what is your problem that some Indians are like Hitler. are you think Jews are the only race and humans in this world.

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